We watched Fanboys at the weekend; an enjoyable little film about a group of friends who set off on a road trip to steal a rough cut of the Phantom Menace some six months before it is due to come out (not knowing, of course, exactly how crap it is going to be). Hit and miss in places maybe, but there were enough geeky references to keep me happy and the beardy Hutch was entertaining enough on his own, as a sort of poor man’s Jack Black. I laughed a lot and even felt a little sad at the poignant ending.
There was one bit that did annoy me however, and it’s taken a couple of days to figure out why.
At one point their female geek friend has to rescue them from their own stupidity, and she comes into conflict with Windows, the bespectacled object of her affections. When she starts doing stuff he doesn’t understand, i.e. behaving like an emotional human being, he essentially tells her, “Look, you can’t pull this girl stuff and still want to be one of the boys”.
At first I thought I was annoyed at the character, and then I realised that was sort of the point. He was being a berk. And then I thought I was annoyed at the film, in a knee jerk reaction sort of way- “how dare you say I can’t be a girl and be friends with boys!”
But I think it was actually more complicated than that. What aggravated me, I believe, was the inference that by being a geek, she was attempting to be one of the boys.
Which is all wrong.
The majority of my friends are male, and all of them are geeks. I didn’t start reading 2000AD when I was kid so that one day, just maybe, I could hang out with blokes and know what they’re talking about. I don’t spend way too much time being Commander Shepard on the Xbox so that men will be impressed by my fairly amazing biotic slam, and I don’t know all the words to Ghostbusters because boys dig chicks that do (and I don’t think they do). I am a geek because that is what I enjoy, and I am friends with people who enjoy the same things- as it happens, most of them are male, but I’m sure this is just because I don’t know very many ladygeeks. And I know you’re out there, ladies!
Being a geek isn’t a “boy thing”. It’s a “people with intelligence and taste” thing. ;)